Question: What is the correct spiritual response to homeless people when they ask for money?

Sri Chinmoy: Just look at the person, and your heart will tell you what to do. Sometimes they pretend to be beggars so that you will give them money, and then immediately they go to a bar. God will bless you for your stupidity if you give them money. But if the person is really hungry and if you are in a position to help, then naturally you will help that person so he can go to a restaurant and eat.

Some people are not actually poor, but they have formed the habit of begging or borrowing. Your heart will immediately tell you if the person is sincere. Then you can do the needful. But if you help someone to go and drink, you are only adding ignorance to his life. If you give a subway token because someone wants to go to a church to pray and meditate, then you are doing the right thing with your money-power. But if you give your money-power to someone who is leading an undivine life, then your lack of wisdom is responsible for adding to his stupidity. Unconsciously if we touch fire, we will still burn our finger. Even if it is an innocent, little child, his innocence will not save him. The very nature of fire is to burn his finger. So we have to be wise. As we will not touch fire, in exactly the same way, we have to use our wisdom when we deal with human beings.